Monday, July 26, 2010
I think it's safe to say all of us on the World to the Wise Cultural Tour are big fans of the Impressionists, with Claude Monet right at the top. So imagine what a treat it was to take a day trip from Paris to Monet's fabled home at Giverny, about an hour's drive from the capital.
We stood on the famous Japanese bridge he had built and took in what are probably the most famous lily pads in the world, not to mention the gardens that surround the house. Monet said he knew how to do only two things: paint and garden. Giverny married the two passions perfectly. Even after hiring seven gardeners, Monet remained the architect of the gardens, giving daily written instructions to his staff.
It was only in 1980 that the Monet house and gardens were opened to visitors, following extensive restoration funded in part by American businessmen and artists. A number of American artists who were contemporaries of Monet were inspired by his work and actually came to settle in Giverny.
Having already taken in many of Monet's works in Paris at the Musée d'Orsay, our tour participants were inspired to do a little creative expression of their own with the watercolors we provided. It was a serene break from the busy-ness of the capital (although we thoroughly enjoyed Paris!), and a reminder not to miss the simple beauties that feed the soul.